Stanwood chief picked to lead Bellingham Police Department

“She has been a rising star in the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office,” Bellingham’s mayor said.

Rebecca Mertzig (Stanwood Police Department)

Rebecca Mertzig (Stanwood Police Department)

By Julie Shirley / Bellingham Herald and The Daily Herald staff

STANWOOD — Rebecca Mertzig will become Bellingham’s police chief June 1.

Mertzig, a Ferndale resident, is chief of the Stanwood Police Department and a lieutenant in the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, where she has used her birth surname, Rebecca Lewis.

Her salary will be $196,884 a year, according to the city, for leading a department funded for 193 full-time employees. The police chief reports to the mayor.

An 18-year law enforcement veteran, Mertzig was a member of the Snohomish County Equity and Inclusion Task Force and was Deputy of the Year in 2010. She also earned the FBI-LEEDA Trilogy Award for completing an FBI supervisory training course. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Washington University.

Three semifinalists were chosen March 8 from 15 applicants for the vacancy after more than a year of searching for a new chief.

One of the other semifinalists was Deputy Chief John DeRousse of the Everett Police Department.

The salary range for the position was listed as $162,720 to $196,884 per year plus benefits.

Chief David Doll retired in January 2021. Chief Flo Simon has been serving in the interim as Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood and the City Council have committed to re-imagine policing in the wake of the 2020 racial justice movement and a staffing crunch that has gutted its special units.

Simon, who was Bellingham’s second Black police officer, has announced her retirement effective June 1.

“I am pleased to announce that Rebecca Mertzig has accepted our offer to be Bellingham’s next Chief of Police,” Fleetwood stated for a news release. “She comes to us with exceptional qualifications and experience. She has been a rising star in the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, exceeding expectations and excelling in leadership positions. I am impressed with her experience, integrity and enthusiasm to lead the Bellingham Police Department.”

“It is an honor to be selected as your new Chief,” Mertzig stated in the news release. “I look forward to continuing the high standard of service provided by the dedicated and professional team at the Bellingham Police Department and I am excited for the opportunity to enhance public safety in my own community.”

Her appointment will be made final after the completion of a standard background investigation that is underway, according to the city.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the applicant from the Everett Police Department.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road on Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Long live the Speedway! Mukilteo’s main drag won’t be renamed

The public shot down the mayor’s idea to change the name: 77% voted ‘No’ in an online survey, with 95% opposed on Facebook.

Motorcyclist dies in crash on East Marine View Drive in Everett

Around 8 p.m. Tuesday, a motorcycle and a vehicle crashed into each other at the intersection of 11th street and East Marine View Drive.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist dies in crash on Highway 530

Jeremy Doyle, 46, was riding east near Darrington when he crashed into the side of a car that was turning left.

The Marysville School District office on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘Financially insolvent’ Marysville schools to get unprecedented oversight

Superintendent Chris Reykdal will convene a first-of-its-kind Financial Oversight Committee, he wrote in a letter Tuesday.

Woodside Elementary Principal Betty Cobbs on Monday, June 17, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett’s first Black principal retires after 51 years

In her office, Betty Cobbs kept a black-and-white photo of herself at age 5: “I am right there, with dreams of becoming an educator.”

Junelle Lewis, right, daughter Tamara Grigsby and son Jayden Hill sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” during Monroe’s Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
On Juneteenth: ‘We can always say that there is hope’

The Snohomish County NAACP is co-sponsoring a celebration Saturday near Snohomish, with speakers, music and food.

36 hours after final show, Everett radio host Charlye Parker, 80, dies

When Parker got into radio, she was a rarity: a woman in a DJ booth. For the past 12 years, she hosted weekend country music shows at KXA.

Dr. Scott Macfee and Dr. Daniel Goodman outside of the Community Health Center on Wednesday, June 12, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett CHC doctors, feeling like ‘commodities,’ speak up on ailing system

At the Community Health Center of Snohomish County, doctors say they feel like “rats getting off a sinking ship.” They want it to get better.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Man charged with shooting at ex-girlfriend, child in Mountlake Terrace

The man, 21, showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and opened fire through the door, new court records say.

People walk along Olympic Avenue past Lifeway Cafe and Olympic Theater that currently hosts Lifeway Church on Friday, July 7, 2023 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Arlington churches waged covert ‘battle’ against Pride event, records show

Sermons, emails and interviews reveal how an LGBTQ+ nonprofit became the target of a covert campaign by local evangelical leaders.

Drive-in movies are coming to the north Island. (Port of Everett image)
Where to catch outdoor movies this summer in Snohomish County

Bring a chair, blanket and the kids for a cinema night under the stars with your favorite movies, including “Barbie” and “Trolls.”

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Monroe in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Roundabout construction may slow traffic around Monroe

A state project to put a roundabout on Highway 203 will close a heavily used intersection for days starting Friday.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.